WAFER BAKER Globalfoundries has announced that it's shipped a quarter of a million 32nm high-k metal gate (HKMG) wafers.
Ten years ago AMD bet big on HKMG becoming the process that would see it down to 32nm and perhaps further. While AMD spun off its manufacturing into what became known as Globalfoundries, the new firm continued with HKMG and within five quarters of production the firm claims to have shipped 250,000 32nm HKMG wafers.
Globalfoundries was keen to point out that after the well publicised delays with its 32nm process node, it managed to ship twice as many 32nm HKMG wafers compared to 45nm wafers in a five quarter period. However the firm admitted that initially there were problems with yield from its 32nm process node.
Ajit Manocha, CEO of Globalfoundries said, "Early in 2011 we met significant challenges in early yield learning on 32nm HKMG. However, we made several organizational and operational changes in the second half of the year that led to a dramatic increase in production velocity and major breakthroughs in yield learning. And since our 28nm technology uses the same HKMG implementation as 32nm, AMD and other customers will benefit greatly from our high-volume ramp of leading-edge APUs at 32nm."
AMD's CEO Rory Read was also on hand to praise Globafoundries, saying 32nm production ramped up to such an extent that the firm produced more 32nm chips than were required. Read also said the success of 32nm means that AMD still supports the firm's 28nm plans. "Based on this successful ramp of 32nm HKMG, we are committed to moving ahead on 28nm with Globalfoundries," said Read.
Read's comments come as Globalfoundries revealed that the two firms had dropped an exclusivity agreement on its 28nm process node for AMD's upcoming APUs. However with industry insiders telling The INQUIRER that AMD's other wafer fab TSMC is having production issues with its 28nm process node and is not being able to meet demand - as can be seen in the shortage of Radeon HD 7900 series cards - perhaps Read wants to keep Globalfoundries on tap for a little while longer.
Globalfoundries will promote its 32nm HKMG process node production ramp success story as it tries to win new business. While AMD is still an important customer, there are plenty of other chip designers, especially ones that cater for smartphones and tablets, that Globalfoundries would like to have on its books. µ